We often evaluate the quality of a conversation by its activity; the pace of the back-and-forth banter can be used as a barometer of how engaged someone is in the discussion. Given our tendency to find comfort in sustained dialogue – thus the phrase "awkward silence" – I was very struck to see the following profound tweet: "Get comfortable with silence. Some of the most important things clients say follows silence."
Most planners think of college planning as accumulation planning – contribute to a 529 plan, invest properly, and start spending in 5, 10, or 15+ years; and if you don’t earn much income nor have a lot of wealth, you can apply for need-based financial aid. In reality, though, it’s never too late and you’re never too wealthy to keep doing good planning for college funding… but the strategies are different!
It is a popular trend these days in financial planning to talk about all the ways our clients behave irrationally, supported by a growing base of research in "behavioral economics" that demonstrates how our hunter/gatherer brains are ill-equipped to cope with today’s complex world. We tend to talk about these behaviors in the negative, but what if we could use some of our irrational tendencies to our benefit, instead?
Financial planning has long witnessed an unfortunate “gap” between practitioners and academia. As the stereotype goes, the practitioner community to too focused on strategies, techniques, and application, while the academic community spends too much of its time on research that is too basic or too abstract. Well, at the Academy of Financial Services meeting held in conjunction with the FPA’s annual convention, that gap appears to be narrowing, quickly.
In this new column I’m calling “On the nighttable…” I will be highlighting some of the books that I’m reading. Right now, I’m just finishing up a book called “Stabilizing an Unstable Economy” by Hyman Minsky. But the interesting thing is not just that it’s another book on stabilizing the economy… it’s that Minsky wrote it several decades ago, yet it is nonetheless remarkably prescient about the events of the recent years!
After being absent from this blog for nearly a year, I’m happy to report that the Nerd is back! That’s right, Nerd’s Eye View is coming back to life with a new focus, and a fresh commitment that it will have content!